A tale of everyday lack of diversity #AllWhiteFrontPages

  1. After reading an article entitled: The ‘Evening Standard’ Of Whiteness in The Voice newspaper an ever present feeling of unease began to take a solid form: rage.
    Rodney Sealy had done a simple analysis of pictures in one edition of The Evening Standard, after completion he decided to boycott the paper.
  2. A-level-students-from-Bad-007
  3. Excerpts from his article: ‘Delivering a media literacy class to a group of black students at a south London secondary school, several years ago, one boy asked a brutally frank question.

    He said: “Sir, if all the images of black males shown to me are negative, therefore my perceptions of black males are negative, how am I supposed to succeed?” I shrugged my shoulders, shook my head and replied: “That’s entirely up to you, son.” I had lied. The odds are heavily stacked against him.’

  4. standard46
  5. ‘Does London’s only paper reflect the reality of London life in 2013?

    Sadly, no. That 40 per cent of ethnic Londoners are crudely white washed out of its view of our city is a terrible indictment. People of colour did not feature on any page as fully formed characters as often as we should but, in fact, if we all packed up and left, London would grind to a juddering halt. We are integral to this city’s smooth functioning.

    But let us get back to the numbers, because numbers never lie.

    There was a grand total of four non-white women across the entire paper. Four! Alicia Keys appeared twice-once on the front page-followed by a double page spread of Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez under the headline Battle of the Booty’. Finally, there was a review of US rapper Eve’s latest album.

    Not one, solitary, image of a UK based woman of colour.

    No African, Asian or Caribbean females made it past the Standard’s gatekeepers on that particular day. None.

    Asian males fared slightly better with three faces making it to print; one doctor and two purveyors of – I kid you not – curry.’

  6. So i was flabbergasted to find an Indian actress on the front of The Times. I decided to mark the occasion by tweeting at their Head of comment and the Head for comment for The Telegraph (In the hope a great rivalry would be borne, both boisterously competing to commission and feature more and more ethnically diverse people in their comment pages.)
  7. thetimesascot
    Rare to have a non-white woman (despite blue contacts) on front page of a paper @TimMontgomerie @chrisdeerin pic.twitter.com/vpJGJyZvNF More pls
  8. I had a look for some more front pages to see what the day had to offer.
  9. guardian_large
    Guardian pays lip service to inclusion but are just as bereft of diversity as the other all white front pages pic.twitter.com/S3T4jhhZTE
  10. dailymail
    The Daily Mail are beyond help of course. #AllWhiteFrontPages pic.twitter.com/HcNkiBUHMU
  11. Then twitter broke some news. BREAKING:
  12. Britain’s now has its first non-white newspaper editor. bit.ly/13UQQVC
  13. Congratulations began streaming in…
  14. Big news at the Independent where @amolrajan has been appointed as the first non-white editor of a national newspaer. Many congrats
  15. Ok, big up @amolrajan for being the first ethnic minority editor of a national, but what really matters AFAIK is he’s the first leg spinner.
  16. Nice to see in the midst of it all Amol give a nod to his south london state school beginnings, some illustrious alumni..
  17. Big public thanks to @SadiqKhan, @lkreitzman and @stefanstern for recognising @GraveneySchool‘s role in our common fate!
  18. This is a mystery…
  19. @ninamalik23 Not sure why you were boycotting, but in any case shouldn’t you wait till Tuesday to see @amolrajan‘s first edition?
  20. Ever the pessimist (when it comes to racial diversity) I expressed what I thought most if not all people of colour may have been thinking, what will change?
  21. Amol Rajan to be editor of The Independent. First person of colour to be editor on a national newspaper in UK. Will the output reflect that?
  22. I’m very glad for @amolrajan it’s impressive that at 29 he is editor of The Independent but I don’t think it will change #AllWhiteFrontPages
  23. I’m not alone.
  24. Will this have an affect on media racism? I don’t have high hopes. Call me a cynic.
  25. Expressing similar scepticism Sathnam Sanghera of The Times linked to an article entitled:

    Exclusive report: Are the media racist?

  26. Amol Rajan’s appointment important day for diversity, but press remains one of most monoracial industries in land: newstatesman.com/blogs/the-stag…
  27. Joseph Harker of The Guardian one of the few, perhaps only columnist to consistently write about racism in the UK and challenge racist stereotypes in the media wrote an article (he’s quick!)

    Amol Rajan will have his work cut out to change the face of the Independent

    It’s great to see an ethnic minority editor of a British newspaper. I hope his appointment sends a message to the rest of the media.

  28. .@AmolRajan will have his work cut out to change the face of the @independent, writes @josephharker gu.com/p/3gjgz/tw
  29. I agree.
  30. @josephharker Aren’t 19 of the Guardian’s 20 columnists white? You say 18… ?
  31. 18, 19, potatoe, potato.

    More Breaking News: the head of comment for The Times, previously editor of ConHome (propaganda sheet for the Tory party) acknowledged my initial tweet. Man of few words.
  32. Emboldened I thought I may as well try the first newspaper that had caused my ire The Evening Standard. I await a reply.
  33. Newspaper owners such as @mrevgenylebedev & editors such as @sandsstandard should address #AllWhiteFrontPages voice-online.co.uk/article/evenin…
  34. The Director of  (an org to deepen public conversation on identity, immigration, integration and fairness) who I last saw published in ConHome (the aforementioned Tory propaganda sheet) had a question about Joe’s article.
  35. . @josephharker raises interesting Q: does Amol Rajan have any *greater* responsibility to promote diversity than @arusbridger @jnmulholland
  36. @sundersays of course he doesn’t! I was talking about whether he wd make a real change, that’s all. Rest of Fleet St shd be doing it too
  37. I expanded on my nascent theories via the medium of hashtag.
  38. #AllWhiteFrontPages suggests a lack of respect and promotes a lack of empathy for diverse communities.
  39. The supply & appetite for #AllWhiteFrontPages is a self fulfilling prophecy. The circle has to be broken & being nice, polite is not working
  40. #AllWhiteFrontPages and the mono-culture of whiteness at The Telegraph is how articles like ‘How To Spot a Terrorist’ get commissioned.
  41. The lack of empathy promoted by #AllWhiteFrontPages means police can not bother pursuing crimes against POC, nobody to hold them to account.
  42. #tomorrowspaperstoday are in, and again it seems they are #AllWhiteFrontPages
  43. telegraph_large
    #AllWhiteFrontPages RT @suttonnick: Thursday’s Telegraph (Scotland) front page – #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers pic.twitter.com/Xh6GsPU08l
  44. Please note The Evening Standard is just one such example of the ubiquity of whiteness in the media. Look to both tabloid and broadsheet and they tell a similar tale of everyday lack of diversity.

    Feel free to join Rodney Sealy in his boycott, perhaps a short sharp shock to one paper will encourage the others to address the glaring inequality both within the pages and behind the words.

    I’ll be using the hashtag #AllWhiteFrontPages to chart the lack of diversity in the media and challenge the editors on Fleet Street, I invite you to do the same.

  45. Joseph Harker’s 2008 article ‘Race Against The Tide’

    ‘In modern-day Britain, papers retaining a mono-cultural outlook could soon begin to appear outdated and out of touch to their readers and risk missing out on major stories. On July 7, 2005, as London was ravaged by bombings, how many news editors were pleading: “Is there a Muslim in the house?” And as global issues become more and more local, how much of an advantage would it have been recently to be able to call on someone with a Pakistani or a Kenyan family connection?

    As newspapers face more and more intense competition, both in print and online, surely they can’t afford to ignore Britain’s growing minority populations. The assumption that things can continue as they always have, with a wealthy, well-connected elite handing down news from above, expecting their underlings to try to imitate them, just doesn’t fit our 21st century profile. Ultimately, what surely we all want is for all sections of society to feel they are properly represented in the range, variety and balance of stories written about them. In other words, expand the overall treatment afforded to white people in the press – as journalists, readers, and those reported – to the whole population. But how many newspaper organisations will genuinely commit themselves to reaching that goal?’

  46. Figures by the Office of National Statistics for ’09 showed the non-white population of England & Wales stood at 16.7% -or one in six people
  47. “They phoned me early one morning & told me to drive about three hundred miles to cover a murder. It was a woman & her two children who’d >
  48. <been killed. I got an hour & a half into the journey, & the news desk called me on my mobile & said, >
  49. ‘Come back.’ I said, ‘Why’s that?’ They said, ‘They’re black.’“ (Davies, p371)
  50. Above is an extract from Nick Davies’ book Flat Earth News. The quote is from a Daily Mail journalist.
  51. If you want to get in touch about anything said in this everyday tale of lack of diversity or have any suggestions on how to dismantle this untenable system
    Email: mediadiversityuk@gmail.com or tweet me @WritersofColour

Founder of Media Diversity UK and @WritersofColour; Samantha Asumadu is a documentary filmmaker and campaigner. Previously based in East Africa Great Lakes region she is now living in London. Listen to her BBC Derby Interview on the #AllWhiteFrontPages campaign. Read It’s time to boost ethnic minority representation in the media Films and reportage at her blog honestlyAbroad

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5 thoughts on “Media Diversity #AllWhiteFrontPages

  1. This is the debate that needs to be had. This is what we are here for.

    The lack of non-white representation in our newspapers and media has gone on for too long. How can the London-centric media industry whitewash 40% of London? 40% of the people who keep the lights of our Capital ON?


    Considering that many of “us” originated with those who arrived to rebuild a War-torn nation, too many generations have existed at the margins of Britain’s conscious. Too many of our achievements have gone unrecognised. Too many crimes against us have been negated.

    Not to mention the heavy, incessant burden of convenient scapegoating that “we” bear, often to shift a few copies of some “rag”, or provoke a few extra “clicks”. Not only are we being excluded, we are being exploited.

    Enough is enough.

    Samantha Asumadu deserves a medal for channeling the frustration that marginalisation brings into something positive, progressive and empowering. Long may it continue and be supported.


  2. It is not worth taking apart John’s comment but I will say that the poor white kids don’t have racism & invisibility to contend with on top of their already challenging plights.

    This is a worthy campaign & reminds me of the fashion magazine campaigns, not that they have had much success.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Jude’s comments and do wonder why races other than white aren’t considered valid markets too. I definitely buy things, papers & magazines included…!


  3. Really enjoyed this and think it is a truly valuable campaign. Whilst of course some of these editorial decisions are prompted by genuine conscious racism – such as in the Daily Mail story above – often it is the case that the majority do not ‘see’ their own race. Whiteness becomes almost invisible, an accepted and repeated visual norm to white people. It is only through articles such as this one that imbalances such as the one discussed here becomes made visible to those in the majority. I know this was the case with me. This is how modern discrimination of all forms occurs; there is a silent and often unwitting participation amongst those who belong to groups with power. Change only occurs because people actively make it happen. Accepting all white front pages as regrettable but inevitable business practice is to abdicate responsibility and to deny a truly egalitarian society.


  4. I’m saddened by this trend but alas not surprised. The tendency of newspapers to be bastions of Whiteness means journalists are often commenting on issues like racism, Islamophobia, immigration etc as outsiders who will never experience any of those things first hand. As a result media constantly peddles outsider narratives and is left unable to offer anything of value to the conversation.

    It’s a pretty sad state of affairs.


  5. I see that you support inherently racist institutions like SEO or dubbed ‘CreativeAccess’.. Hiding behind a guise of helping ‘ young people from under-represented black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds’ What about Poor white people who are in exactly the same position probably worse as they don’t have racist organisations like the SEO supporting them. You attack papers for not having diversity yet the whole point of papers (nowadays unfortunately) is profit over anything else and with 82% of England being white ( According to the 2009 Census) they are going to cater to a white audience to sell those papers.. It’s not racist it’s business. Lets strive for egalitarianism in our society not hate tactics because minorities feel ‘under represented’ the clue is in the word minority.


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